Student Internship Opportunities

The Great Lakes Research and Education Center offers several student internship opportunities in cooperation with our partners. Join the next generation of national park scientists and stewards!

Here's a quick look back at some of our star interns:

A woman in a blue kayak floats down a river.
Olivia Poelmann, one of three Aquatic Invasive Species Interns, monitors for invasive yellow irises along the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway.

St. Croix River Association

Olivia Poelmann, Katie Hands, and Jessica Bryzek
Aquatic Invasive Species Interns, 2018


Olivia Poelmann, Katie Hands, and Jessica Bryzek, spent the summer working along the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway monitoring and removing the invasive yellow iris. The team housed themselves in Trego, Wisconsin, while they paddled eighty-five miles of the Namekagon in June. They used GPS tracking devices to monitor the spread of the plant as they paddled the river. In addition, they removed yellow iris along multiple stretches of the St. Croix River. Their work will help resource managers understand how the invasive iris spreads, and will inform decisions about the location of future work to remove the plant. This year, the interns also talked with people they encountered about the problem iris, and staffed booths at local events to help inform the public of the dangers of the invasive plant and the need to remove it. These industrious interns worked directly for the St. Croix River Association with support from the Great Lakes Research and Education Center.

A young woman photographs a man holding a small plastic sample vial.
Colleen Otte, 2017 Science Communication Intern, photographs a scientist during his visit to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to collect water samples.
Colleen Otte, Science Communication Intern, 2017

Colleen created a Facebook page for the Great Lakes Research and Education Center, developing relationships with scientists and resource managers from across our network of 11 parks to gather information for her Facebook posts. She spent time behind the computer, on the phone, and most importantly in the field as she put her skills as both a photographer and a journalist to work. She also created two articles on bat monitoring and a number of social media posts for the Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network, who, along with the Dunes Learning Center, helped sponsor her internship.
A young woman at a vernal pool works with a GPS unit.
Nemesis Ortiz maps vernal pools as part of her Young Leaders in Climate Change internship.

Colleen Otte

Némesis Ortiz, Young Leaders in Climate Change (YLCC) Intern, 2017

Némesis spent her summer both inside and out, researching methods, identifying data gaps, and collecting ancillary data needed to characterize vernal pools and assess their vulnerability to climate change. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, she conducted field surveys in the upland dunes area of Cowles Bog to locate wetlands and determine their status as vernal pools. Némesis assessed the accuracy and precision of remote sensing techniques to detect vernal pools and developed a framework for assessing their resiliency to climate change.


A young man sweeps an insect net as he walks across a prairie.
Jacob Villalpando, 2017 Mosaics in Science Diversity Intern, collects insects as part of his Pollinator Stewardship Project.

Colleen Otte

Jacob Villalpando, Mosaics in Science Diversity Intern, 2017

Jacob spent time in the field, in the lab, and in the classroom as a Mosaics Pollinator Steward intern at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. He gained valuable hands-on experience in both research and science outreach by collecting updated data on native bee diversity in the park and developing a citizen science project on native pollinators. Jacob even tried his hand at teaching, as he shared about his stewardship project during an entomology workshop for educators held in June.

Last updated: September 12, 2018